Vacaciones. Sonreír CD
VACACIONES is a five-piece from Murcia, Spain, currently formed by Ruth (vocals), Rafa Skam (guitar), Jose Alberto (drums), Ana (keyboards and backing vocals) and Carlos 77 (bass). The band starts in mid 98, and some months later they have managed to have a first release out: a delightful coloured vinyl seven inch single for Elefant’s single club, containing the band’s first hit “Poppy girl”. The first official live show takes place in February 99 in Madrid’s Siroco Club; meanwhile the single gets more than acceptable sales in Japan.
The band hasn’t stopped growing up since then: they have played live with the best Spanish acts (LOS PLANETAS, COOPER, LOS FRESONES REBELDES...) and international outfits such as THE FRANK AND WALTERS or MARINE RESEARCH: the latter chose VACACIONES as the opening act for their last Spanish tour.
On early 2000 VACACIONES release two simultaneous singles, which start to reveal their real potential and melodic intuition to bump into the catchiest chorus.
They play most Spanish summer festivals (Benicassim, Doctor Music, Contempopránea, Lemon Pop...) and include one of their songs in “Little Molly has a treat for you”, a compilation released by U.S. label March Records featuring worldwide indie icons such as BAXENDALE or CLUB 8.
It is widely known that a band’s most decisive challenge comes when releasing a debut album. That’s the time to check if they are up to the expectations aroused and can deliver a whole collection of songs without being boring or repetitive; not every band can go through this succesfully.
But of course VACACIONES can. This debut album confirms everything that was only suggested in the previous singles. It combines new improved recordings of songs already released (“Poppy girl”, “Espero una respuesta”, “Ahora sí!” or “Imperfecta”) with exciting brand new numbers as fresh and cheeky as their first creations but much more professional and effective, proving the band has really done its homework concerning practising and playing live around the country.
To get everything in its right place the band counted on Carlos Hernández, who has produced the album with the help of the band: fourteen tracks, fifteen in a limited lp vinyl edition. The production avoids gimmicks and “special effects” in favour of a naked sound that leaves clear the main ingredients in VACACIONES, those really appreciated by their fans:
Ruth’s charming and naturally fresh vocals; rocking guitars in its precise measure, supplied by Rafa Skam, who also plays in the band THE YELLOW MELODIES; a sixties touch is provided by Ana’s Hammond organ; and last but not least, the catchiness of the songs themselves. As the lyrics of “Espero una respuesta” say, these songs “get inside your head little by little, before you realise”. Most numbers are written by Jose Alberto, Ruth and Rafa, plus the title track is signed by bass player Carlos 77; Carlos also shares vocal tasks with Ruth in this song.
The band wanted this debut album to include songs from their whole history as a band, so we can find very early pieces like “Vacaciones en el mar” or “La senda del caracol” plus newest numbers such as the truly faultless “Volverás”: a potential hit that brings back the best Spanish sixties pop in a very fine improved form, as Spanish sixties pop hits never sounded so good!!!
The sound of VACACIONES is halfway through energetic, vibrant sixties pop (“Premio de consolación”, “Espero una respuesta”, “Quiero algo más”, “Volverás”) and the sweetiest indie pop with female vocals (“La senda del caracol”, “Vacaciones en el mar”), plus some punk-pop tantrums such as “Imperfecta”, a true VACACIONES classic: it always features their live sets and had already been released in a pristine version in our “Verano del 99” compilation.
There’s also room for lushy horn arrangements (as in “Sonreír” or “Mírame”) played by the Ciudad de Granada Orchestra, or for the shy mandolin rearing its -beautiful- head through the first seconds of “Unas veces sí y otras no”, courtesy of Pablo Román from labelmates CECILIA ANN. In any case the album is based on female vocals, guitar riffs and Hammond organs. Perfect songs such as “No me digas que me quieres” require little else.
The sleeve is signed by Gregorio Soria, who has also created many Elefant sleeves (COOPER, ME ENVENENO DE AZULES, LA PEQUEÑA SUIZA, LA CASA AZUL...) as well as the gorgeous looks of www.elefant.com. The album sleeve is colourful and poppy as hell, just as its musical content. Artwork LP is slightly different to the CD; vinyl LP also includes an extra track.
VACACIONES can finally show they are talented enough as to be placed at the top of the current Spanish underground pop scene. The amateurism of their early recordings is left behind in order to reveal all the band’s potential. As one of their best songs (“Ahora sí”) states: now’s the time... for VACACIONES.